As you may have noticed over the past few weeks, there has been a major shakeup in the world of Facebook advertising. The most notable change has to do with the increased size of ads on the right side of users’ news feeds. At first glance, this may seem like a minor change to an advertising platform that is constantly making changes and improvements.
Upon further inspection, however, this is a change that could have a huge impact on results if gone unchecked. Today, we will discuss the changes for Facebook ads and how you can best prepare to minimize negative impact.
What Is Changing?
As mentioned above, the change impacts only the “Right Hand Side” ads for Facebook. As of June 24th, Facebook started rolling out “Right Hand Side” ads that utilize images which are about 2.5 bigger than previous ads. This allows for increased ad real estate, which brings more attention to the ads. On the other hand, this reduces the number of ads allowed on the right hand side from four to two.
What to Expect and How to Prepare
Increased Image Size
While this update has already begun to roll out, it won’t become permanent till the end of August 2014.
Until then, it’s important to go into your account and make sure all ads look fine in the new format. Facebook has already begun to auto convert all existing ads to this new size. A few issues could occur during this process that may cause the image to look out of place and not fully utilize the ad space, including:
- The original image size is naturally too small
- The original image isn’t the right aspect ratio
Advertisers who could potentially run into these issues should look into replacing the current images as soon as possible. Ultimately, Facebook has given its advertisers more space to play with. It only makes sense to utilize it as effectively as possible with images that use all the space available.
To most advertisers, the increased CPC should not come as a surprise. With the decrease in available spaces, it is only natural that competition heats up in order to acquire one of the right hand side spots. Ultimately, this means that companies will be bidding higher in order for their ad to be seen.
While you should be worried about an increase in cost per engagement, this change can be a reminder to go back to the basics of ad creation. That is, make sure that your ad is as relevant and targeted as possible in order to get the highest click through rate. When there is heavy competition, having a high click through rate can go a long way toward getting your ad seen more, and, in turn, paying less. Actions to take into consideration in order to improve ads include:
- Testing out new ad copy
- Testing out images to discover what is most eye catching
- Making sure all interest groups are clean and relevant
- Trying out different ad formats to see what works best with your message (News Feed, Right Side, etc.)
Blending News Feed and Right Hand Side Ads
Facebook’s goal in rolling out these changes is to make a more unified ad creation experience. No longer will ads need to have different formats based on their location in Facebook.
Note: Because of this merger, Facebook is now going to subject “Right Hand Side” ads to the 20% image text rule that is currently set in place for news feed ads. If you are running a text heavy image for a “Right Hand Side” ad, you will need to make sure to update the image by September 1st. Failing to do so will get your ad “disapproved”.
What’s Not Changing?
After all the discussions of what is changing for “Right Hand Side” ads, it is just as important to discuss what isn’t changing.
- Character Limits – Character limits will remain the same, so there’s no need to go back and change existing ads from a text stand point. They will remain at 25 characters for headline and 90 characters for body text.
While Facebook increasing the size of the “Right Hand Side” ads may seem like a small change, it’s going to have an effect on your current ads, competition, and, ultimately, how you set up campaigns. Even though Facebook is making this conversion as automatic for users as possible, it’s important get into your campaigns and make sure all your current ads will be running as normal as possible come September 2014.